About the history, experience and philosophy of our founder
ROI Cycles was created by Julien Meissonnier. It is a new company with a fresh product range but it is rooted in 40 years of bicycle passion, practice, and deep technology understanding as a Materials Engineer.
From the first pink Mercier "Service Course" bought in 1976 at age 13, replaced in 1981 (when outgrown) by a "made to measure" French classic Follis randonneur with Vitus 971 tubing which I assembled myself (including building my first wheelset with MaxiCar hubs, which I still ride today). This Follis saw many long brevets, over 500 mountain passes hunted all across Europe, 24-hour solo rides and many camping trips across Europe from Communist Bulgaria to France...
In 1984, as I was moving for an exchange year in the US as a Materials Engineering student, I cut and brazed a cheap 10-speed frame to modify its geometry into a 650B cyclo camping frame with home brazed pannier carriers inspired by the famous Singer and Herse designs. I used it as a 100Kg rig (15Kg for the bike, 25Kg for the gear and all 60Kg of me), to cross the USA from Florida to California in a 100 days, 8500Km ride, on a $1,000 budget ($10/day) in full autonomy. I also used that heavy bike to race in my first triathlon in Florida. I still ride this camping bike with its MaxiCar hubs, 40 tandem spokes and 650B wheels. It will probably outlast me...
As I moved back to France in 1986, I got serious about racing triathlons, I bought a used Vitus Carbone 3 with full Mavic SSC group from a local Pro team, fitted it with the recently launched Look clipless pedals and Scott Aero bars (3 years before Greg Lemond used them in the Tour de France). I reached a top 30 national ranking, was vice-champion of France of clubs in Half-Ironman distance in 1986 with the TriathLyon team.
I later leisurely enjoyed 6/4 titanium bikes with a 1998 Litespeed Vortex road bike with Full Campagnolo Record 9 speed and early Zipp 303 tubulars and a 1998 Litespeed Tellico Hardtail MTB with Full Shimano XTR (later modified into a 9Kg gravel bike with drop bars).
Of course, eventually came back to the now dominant carbon with a wonderful and legendary Willier Cento Uno with 2015 Campagnolo Record.
I pass on multiple additional short term projects, restorations, fixies, tandem, buying a collectible late-80's sample of the early carbon monocoque frame made by Aegis in Maine marketed under the Bik brand as well as working for TREK before they created their own carbon fiber operations.
This hands-on practice is completed by a deep understanding in the field of composite materials gained while doing my M.Sc. at the University of Washington on carbon fiber composite sponsored by Boeing as part of early work on the vision to build a complete carbon fiber commercial airplane (became a reality 30 years later with the Dreamliner) and during the 5 years I spent as Global Marketing Manager for epoxy resins for Ciba Geigy (the inventor of epoxy resins) in Switzerland in the late 1990's.
I love bike technology, and think we live in a wonderful time where one can get incredible equipment at attractive cost. From carbon fiber composite to titanium, materials and technologies that were only available for NASA, Fighter Aircrafts, Formula One cars (and tinkering Materials Engineering students) some 30 years ago can now be bought by anyone with an "almost" reasonable budget.
…but the interest of the bike industry is different from the interest of the rider. The bike industry generates an inordinate amount of dubious “innovations” and new “standards” to make sure riders feel that last year’s stuff is passé and must be upgraded. The huge marketing and sponsorship costs to join the exclusive club of top brands have to be financed by the customer of a small and fragmented industry. To make things worse, the bike industry is still largely built on a 5 layer pyramid of Brand, Manufacturer, Importer, Distributor and Local Bike Shop, and everyone in the chain needs to make a living. So bikes have become luxury brands and status symbols and you can buy bicycles that cost more than a decent car with little marginal benefit (other than showing off). The bottom line is that the rider pays 10 for equipment with well-known and flashy logos (and often too many cut corners on cost like cheap BB bracket bearings that will last one season), that should cost him/her 1 or 2. It has become much like buying a Rolex or a designer evening dress where the price is a dominant component towards signalling perceived quality and performance.
Our role is to help you cut through the hype, strip the fluff that adds cost and no benefit and guide you to invest your hard earned money into the best available technology. No sponsorship cost, no branding, no flashy painting and logos, just top notch materials and technology not necessarily from the big names. We do use top brand equipment but only when it is truly superior which today is confined to very few components...
We also cut through the mind boggling choices and explain why we choose what we choose, in order to offer a distilled range highly focused on your goals and riding styles whether your focus is to go fast and/or far and whether you want ten bikes or just one to do it all.
We also do custom projects, and vintage restorations mostly for the fun of it and because we hate to see good old bikes gathering dust in garages and love to give them a new life…